Be Original! Buy Original!

We might as well get into it...

What is art? 

I have spent the last 15 years of my life studying it (yikes). I was so obsessed with this fundamentally human activity that I got a degree in Art History, spent 6 years studying the techniques of the Old Masters, taught it for 5 and to the dismay of my parents pursued it as a career. Defining art is tricky business, but in my mind there are two questions I ask myself: 1. Did a human being conceive of and produce it? 2. How many of these puppies are out there? In other words the farther removed from the artist a work of art is the less ‘art’ there is to it and the more ‘it becomes coupled in the category of industrial-product-with-aesthetic qualities. If you can buy it in the same place that sells kettles and duvet covers you can be sure it’s not art. 

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What is an artist? 

Here is another one of my favourites- Let’s bust some stereotypes! The lone genius, working away in a studio undisturbed by the cares of the world while the galleries sell their work for millions is not a thing. It may be a thing for a few people but in 99.9% of the cases artists are regular people like you and me, often times with regular jobs (for obvious reasons). As far as I am concerned if you make art you are an artist. If you make good art you are a good artists- you get my drift. Last week I was on the phone with a woman who was so hesitant to call herself an artist because she had 3 kids and painted in her living room at night. This idea that your legitimacy as an artist rests on certain prerequisites is even prevalent among artists and we need to get over it. Artists are doctors who make art out of discarded brain scans after work; moms who paint while their babies are sleeping; office managers with a serious side hustle- ANYONE. And the best part is these people are hiding among us. It’s time we dug them out and shared their awesomeness with the world. 

Industrial canvas printing facilities

What is the difference anyway? 

Ok I hear you. It’s cheaper and looks like art so who cares? This is what I have to say about that- I started ‘collecting’ art when I was broke (and I mean artist broke). I now have over 20 pieces at home that are each so special to me. Why? Not because they match my couch cushions(which have changed many many times during the years) but because I remember each one coming into my life like a little movie. I love knowing the person who made them, I love the thought behind them, I love the fact that I made a difference in someone’s artistic career, I love that each time someone new comes to my house they immediately ask me about my art and let me tell you you get to know people really well in front of artwork, I love that no one else has it but me and I love the fact that I will leave an awesome art collection for my daughter. Now I challenge you to say any of the above about that canvas print of a bridge. 


About the Author:

Diliana Popova is the founder and CEO of Artichoke Art- a Toronto-based startup on a mission to transform the way we connect with art and creativity. Artichoke Art curates, installs and rotates pop-up art galleries in commercial spaces and also provides creativity activation sessions for teams.